2012/356/S HALL FARM KENILWORTH ROAD KNOWLE Application No: 2012/356/S Ward/Area: KNOWLE Location: HALL FARM KENILWORTH ROAD KNOWLE SOLIHULL Date Registered: 13/04/2012 Applicant: SPITFIRE PROPERTIES LLP Proposal: CONVERT EXISTING FARM BUILDINGS INTO 5 No. RESIDENTIAL DWELLINGS AND DEMOLITION OF 4,941 SQUARE METRES OF MODERN BUILDINGS ON SITE AND ERECTION OF 8 No. DWELLINGS WITH ASSOCIATED PARKING AND LANDSCAPING. Documents Online: http://www.solihull.gov.uk/planning/dc/ViewAppDetail.asp?Y=2012&R=356 PROPOSAL Full planning permission is sought for the conversion of two existing large two storey barn buildings into 5 dwellings and the erection of 8 newly constructed buildings on the site. The new construction would be in lieu of existing industrial and agricultural buildings that are to be removed as part of this application. The footprint of the existing modern steel framed industrial and agricultural buildings to be removed is 4,941sqm, whilst the footprint of the newly constructed elements of the proposal equates to around 1,768sqm. The proposal will therefore result in a significant reduction in terms of the ground coverage of the site. The 8 new build dwellings on the site consist of Plots 1 to 8. Plot 1 is to be a thatched cottage that is located at the front of the site facing Kenilworth Road, albeit set back approx. 50m from the road. Plot 2 is a replacement dwelling for the existing dilapidated dwelling that is currently situated on the site, and Plots 3 – 8 are designed and sited to appear as a modern addition to the traditional farm courtyard in a way that the exiting courtyard may have been expected to develop over time. Serving plots 3 – 8 single storey garage blocks are also proposed, one being internal to the proposed courtyard layout (as it involves the partial conversion of an existing single storey range of buildings), and the other forming the northern extremity of the planned courtyard arrangement. Plot 1 is a two storey high detached thatched cottage with a single storey addition to the side and an open sided double car port. It will have a ridge height of 8m, an eaves height of 4.2m, a depth of 6m and a width of 16.6m. It will provide 4 bedrooms, and will have its private amenity area to the side. Plot 2 is to replace the existing farm dwelling currently on the site and is to be situated in approximately the same position, facing into the farm courtyard. It is of a Palladian design reminiscent of the middle to late 18 th Century. It is to be two stories in height with accommodation within the roof space served by dormer windows in the front and rear elevations, and a detached double garage to the side is proposed. The ridge height of the dwelling will be 8.8m, the eaves height will be 6.3m and the depth and width will both be 12m. The detached double garage will measure 6.5m x 6.7m and be 4.3m in height. Internally 6 bedrooms are proposed and there is to be a large amenity area to the rear. Plots 3, 4 and 5 consist of a row of three dwellings to designed to appear as a modern interpretation of an agricultural threshing barn, with a tiled roof above timber clad elevations that incorporate shallow projecting gabled elements. The building is two stories in height and each unit will be provided with 4 bedrooms. The building in its entirety will have a length of 31.5m, a depth of 10.5m, a ridge height of 10.2m and an eaves height of 4.7m. The building is orientated to face in to the courtyard and rear garden areas are to the rear facing onto Kenilworth Road. Car parking is to be provided within a nearby single storey garage block building. Plot 6 is linked to Plots 3, 4 and 5 by a single storey covered way, and the building is again to be externally faced in timber cladding with a tiled roof above. This building will be 8m in height to the ridge of the roof and 4.7m to the eaves. It will be 10.3m in width and 8m in depth. It will have 5 bedrooms and a large rear garden to the rear. Car parking will be accommodated within a nearby single storey garage block. Plots 7 and 8 constitute 2 no. two storey dwellings located immediately adjacent to the existing range of buildings with the site that are to be retained. They are to be externally finished with a combination of timber cladding and brickwork in their elevations, with a tiled pitched roof above. Plot 7 will be 9.2m in height to the ridge and 4.5m to the eaves. It will be 12.1m in width and 9.7m in depth. Internally 5 bedrooms are proposed and parking will be within a nearby single storey detached garage range. Plot 8 is also to be 9.2m in height and 4.5m to the eaves, though will be 13.9m in width and 9.7m in depth. It will also provide for 5 bedrooms and parking will be within a nearby single storey detached garage range. Plots 9, 10 and 11 are to be located within the largest and most splendid of the two existing two storey brick barns that are to be converted. This former threshing barn is to be converted to provide 3 dwellings. Over three floors internally. Existing openings have been retained and used (including the large double height openings in the front and rear), and where new openings are required to provide access and/or light to the rooms within they have been kept to a minimum. The building has a width of 33.2m, a depth of 10.3m, a ridge height of 9.5m and the eaves to the front are 2.4m, and to the rear they are 5.2m. Plot 9 is a 6 bed unit, Plot 10 is a 4 bed unit and Plot 11 is a 6 bed unit. Plot 11 has a basement in the position of what is advised is an existing capped off concrete silo. Amenity areas are located to the rear and car parking is to be provided within a shared nearby single storey garage block. Plots 12 and 13 are to be conversions of two existing barns, incorporating the linking of the two with a 2 storey extension (to Plot 12) and a two storey rear extension to Plot 13. The buildings to be converted are a small single storey barn measuring 13.5m by 5.9m, which is perpendicular and slightly offset from the second barn which is two stories in height and measures 28.7m in length x 5.2m in depth x 7.4m to the ridge of the roof and 4.5m to the eaves. As with the proposal to convert the barn within which plots 9, 10 and 11 are to be located, existing openings have been retained where possible and new openings kept to a minimum. Plot 12 involves the conversion of about half of the large barn and the entire second smaller barn, linked with a two storey extension to be faced in timber cladding. The extension is up to 6.5m in depth, 10m wide and is 7m to the ridge of the roof. Four bedrooms are proposed. Plot 13 seeks to convert the remaining half of the larger barn. The rear extension will measure 7m x 5m and be 6.4m and 3.3m respectively to the ridge and eaves of the roof. Three bedrooms are proposed and a detached double garage is to be sited to the side/rear. Turning now to the single storey garage blocks, the first is an ‘L’ shaped building situated fairly centrally within the proposed extended courtyard arrangement, part of which involves converting an existing building and part of which is to be new build. It is to be up to 23m in length by 5m in depth, and 6m in height to the ridge of the roof. The second garage block will follow a similar form though has an extended and additional horizontal element of built form to the north. It will provide 6 double garages and a bin store and be 5.8m in height to its ridge and 2.4m to the eaves. In terms of general on site parking, there is to be 25 parking spaces to be contained within garages/car ports, approximately 4 spaces on driveways (plots 1 and 2), and 3 additional on site surface paring spaces. CONSULTATION RESPONSES Highway Engineers : Objection and recommend refusal due to unsustainable location of site. Housing Strategy Officer : No objection subject to the applicant entering into a S106 Agreement to secure an off site affordable housing contribution. Landscape Architects : No objections subject to conditions Ecology : Final Comments awaited Environmental Protection : No objection subject to conditions Environment Agency : No objection subject to conditions Warwickshire Museum – : No objection subject to conditions Archaeology Severn Trent Water : No objection subject to conditions Site Notice : 27 April 2012 Press Notice : 27 April 2012 Neighbours : 17 April 2012 REPRESENTATIONS Two letters of objection have been received, including from the Knowle Society. The issues raised are summarised as flows: Impact of the proposed access upon a right of way to an adjacent field. The site is within an unsustainable location Inappropriate development within the Green Belt with no demonstrated very special circumstances The residential conversion of the buildings to be converted will have a materially greater impact upon openness than the existing agricultural use Increased impact upon openness of Green Belt The stand alone cottage has no perceivable agricultural use whatsoever Not being able to find a viable employment use is not sufficient reason to permit a residential use A residential use will increase traffic levels beyond the current situation The proposal is not farm based diversification The removal of the agricultural buildings should not be seen as a reason for allowing replacement development on the site If approved 40% of the dwellings should be for affordable housing. POLICY RPG11 – Regional Planning Guidance for the West Midlands (2004) RR1 – Rural renaissance PA14 – Economic development and the rural economy PA15 – Agriculture and farm diversification T2 – Reducing the need to travel Solihull UDP 2006 ENV2 – Urban Design ENV13 – Protected Species ENV14 – Trees and Woodlands T1 – An Integrated and Sustainable Transport Strategy T13 – Car Parking Provision H1 – Provision of Housing Land H4 – Affordable Housing H5 – Density, Design and Quality of Development C2 – Control of Development in the Green Belt Solihull Draft Local Plan Work has reached an advanced stage on preparing a development plan that will replace the existing adopted UDP. This plan will provide the long term spatial vision for how the borough’s towns, villages and countryside will develop and change over the Plan period to 2028. The plan sets out to deliver a strategy for promoting, distributing and delivering sustainable economic growth whilst conserving and improving the character and quality of the environment. The draft Local Plan was released for a six week public consultation period of representation which expired on 5th March 2012. The feedback from this consultation will inform the adoption process of the Local Plan. A decision to submit the Plan will be taken late Spring 2012 with a view to an independent Examination in Public taking place later in 2012 and eventual adoption Spring 2013. The Plan is considered to be a material consideration, carrying an element of weight having been through consultation processes. The policies contained within the draft local plan that are relevant to this proposal are: P4 – Meeting Housing Needs P5 – Provision of Land for Housing P7 – Accessibility and Ease of Access P9 – Climate Change P10 – natural Environment P14 – Amenity P15 – Securing Quality Design P17 – Green Belt/Countryside Financial Considerations The Localism Act makes provision for local financial considerations to be taken into account as a material consideration in determining a planning application. Such matters may include contributions as a result of section 106 agreements, as these are directly related to the development and necessary to make the proposals acceptable, such considerations will carry significant weight. Other financial considerations, including the benefit as a result of an increased New Homes Bonus (paid to authorities based on the number of new dwellings provided), are more general and whilst are a factor in favour of the grant of permission will only carry limited weight (unless otherwise sated in the later paragraphs of this report). Planning for Growth This Ministerial Statement advises that the Government's top priority in reforming the planning system is to promote sustainable economic growth and jobs. The Government's clear expectation is that the answer to development and growth should wherever possible be 'yes', except where this would compromise the key sustainable development principles set out in national planning policy. When deciding whether to grant planning permission, local planning authorities should support enterprise and facilitate housing, economic and other forms of sustainable development. Government Guidance National Planning Policy Framework SPGs Rural Buildings Conversion Guidance Vehicle Parking Standards and Green Travel Plans PLANNING HISTORY 2009/72 (09 Jul 10) [full plans approval] Change of use of existing farm to B1 office use with associated parking, including demolition of 4530sqm of modern buildings. 2008/1681 (07 Nov 08) [full plans approval] Two storey side extension. 2006/1093 (7 July 06) [conditional approval] Conversion and change of use of barns 2 & 4 into offices together with alterations to existing workshop barns 1 & 3. 2005/2253 (22 Dec 05) [CLEUD approval] certificate of lawfulness for use of barn 1 as an existing workshop, machine shop, stores and HGV / tractor services shop. Barn 3 as an existing lawn mower repair and motorcycle workshop. 2003/1729(01 Oct 03) [called in by secretary of stat] conversion of hall farm farmhouse to 3 dwellings including extension and garages, conversion of barns to 9 dwellings. Appeal: 3205 - : 14/03/2005: dismissed 2001/661 (29 Jan 02) [outline approval] outline application for the erection of 8 dwellings. Appeal: 3014 - : 05/08/2002: dismissed 2001/660 (29 Jan 02) [full plans approval] change of use of hall farm from 1 to 3 dwellings and change of use of traditional farm buildings/barns to 9 dwellings Appeal: 3014 - : 05/08/2002: dismissed 1990/989 (13 Sep 90) [approved] first floor office accommodation 1990/431 (02 Apr 90) [refused] first floor office accommodation SITE DESCRIPTION Hall Farm consists of 57.7ha of land on the north side of the B4101 Kenilworth Road, about 1.5-km to the east of Knowle village centre. The farmstead itself is roughly half way between the junctions of Kenilworth Road with Elvers Green Lane and Watery Lane and is about 150 metres from the road. Facing it on the opposite side of the Kenilworth Road is and area of woodland. The farmstead itself has been intensively developed over the years and a collection of modern agricultural buildings and industrial buildings has been added to the original traditional brick farm buildings. Adjoining the farmstead, to the east, is a modern detached dwelling known as Harvester House. The northern access serves the commercial activities on the site but is also used by farm traffic. MAIN ISSUES Background; Green Belt and Design; Neighbour Amenity; Landscape; Ecology; Affordable Housing; Highways and Sustainability APPRAISAL Background The site has a long and detailed planning history with intervention by the Secretary of State. Most recently planning permission was granted (2009/72) for the conversion of existing barns to B1 offices, a proposal that involved the demolition of a significant amount of the existing larger and more modern buildings on the site. This scheme involved the applicants entering into a S106 Agreement to improve the pavement route from the site to Knowle. Prior to the above in 2006 (2006/1093) planning permission was granted to convert 2 of the barns into B1 office accommodation, which included the provision of 582sqm of floor space and provided for 46 car parking spaces. All of the other uses at the site listed above would also exist. In the appeal decision letter by the Secretary of State dated March 2005 for conversion of the barns and farmhouse to residential he decided to refuse planning permission. He considered that the proposal represented appropriate development in the Green Belt and would have provided Green Belt benefits in terms of enhancement of openness and improvement to the visual amenity. However, more importantly he considered that the proposal was in an unsustainable location and contrary to PPG13. The proposal was neither required to meet the strategic housing target, nor accessible by other modes of transport other than the car, it therefore did not comply with the then PPG3 and PPS7. Furthermore, the Secretary of State was not persuaded that a commercial use would not be viable or that possible commercial uses of the site would be so much less sustainable than a residential use. Green Belt Policy C1 of the UDP designates the site within the Green Belt. Policy C2 states that development will not be permitted in the Green Belt unless it is for a limited few categories of development. One such category includes the re- use of buildings, provided that the new use and any associated use of land surrounding the building do not conflict with, or have a materially greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land in it. The form, bulk and general design of the buildings must also be in keeping with their surroundings and the buildings themselves must be of permanent and substantial construction and capable of conversion without major reconstruction. Other categories include the replacement and limited extensions of existing dwellings. Policy C8 of the UDP seeks to enhance and safeguard the most important and vulnerable areas of the countryside and mitigate the adverse effects of development. Guidance relating to development on a national level is offered within the NPPF. Here is advises that, inter alia, the following forms of development are appropriate within the Green Belt: Replacement of a building provided that it is within the same use and not materially larger than the one that it replaces; Limited infilling or the partial or complete redevelopment of previously developed sites (brownfield land), whether redundant or in continuing use (excluding temporary buildings), which would not have a greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt and the purpose of including land within it than the existing development; Re-use of buildings provided that the buildings are of permanent and substantial construction. The advice contained within the NPPF, which replaces all previous PPGs and PPSs is a material consideration that, carries a significant amount of weight in the assessment and determination of this application. Given the nature of the proposal that is before you for determination, the proposal involves development that falls into all three of the above categories. The Barn Conversions Given that Plots 9 to 13 are to be contained within the existing brick built barns at the site, the third of the above criteria is clearly relevant to the application The barns proposed for conversion already exist and their conversion would, in principle, have no greater impact on the openness of the Green Belt. The structural survey provided confirms that they are all permanent and substantial construction and capable of conversion. This view was confirmed by the Inspector and First Secretary in considering the previous schemes. Existing openings have been retained wherever possible, and new openings have been kept to a minimum and carefully integrated into the scheme to ensure there is no over proliferation of new apertures, and to ensure that the character and appearance of the barns is maintained. Where extensions are proposed (i.e. to plots 12 and 13), they are suitably designed and subservient to the existing barns and do not detract unduly from the integrity of the existing structures. It is noted that a basement is proposed to Plot 11, resulting in a building with 4 internal stories. It is considered that it is unusual to find a barn, converted or otherwise, with such a basement though the applicants advise that there is an existing capped off concrete silo at that location that the basement will infill, and in any case given its low level siting it will not be unduly visible from outside of the site. It is therefore considered that, subject to information relating to boundary treatment and extent of residential curtilages, the barn conversion element of the scheme complies with both Policy C2 and NPPF guidance relating to the re-use of buildings within the Green Belt. Replacement Dwelling The existing dwelling on the site is in a state of poor repair. It is a substantial dwelling and is roughly 12 x 12m in floor area and 9m in height to the ridge of the roof. In comparison, the proposed dwelling is almost identical in floor areas and is slightly lower in height. Given that the design of the dwelling, in its aforementioned Palladian style, is considered to be acceptable, it is considered that the proposed replacement dwelling is not materially larger than the one that it is to replace and therefore compliant with both Policy C2 and NPPF guidance relating to the erection of replacement dwellings. New Build Dwellings Plots 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 & 8, and the detached\garaging buildings (save for part of one of the blocks which involves a conversion of an existing building) represent new build detached dwellings. Although there is no scope for this under normal circumstances within the UDP, given that the site has a varied established use, a great of deal of which is commercial/industrial, it is considered that the site constitutes previously developed land. As such, in accordance with NPPF advice above, redevelopment can be acceptable if it results in no material harm to the openness of the Green Belt. It is noted that 4,941sqm of existing modern steel framed buildings will be removed from the site, the vast majority of which, is located to the east of the existing traditional farm courtyard complex, has an authorised commercial use as an abattoir, meat processing plant, vehicle repair workshop and a lawnmower/repair workshop. These buildings are of functional, modern and utilitarian appearance and have a maximum height of up to 8m. The proposed new build dwellings will replace these buildings to be removed, and collectively they have a footprint of around 1,768sqm. This is a considerable reduction in terms of plot coverage. Further, the proposed new build have been carefully designed to reproduce how the existing traditional brick built building courtyard may have evolved and grown over time, using a contemporary take on the development of additional two storey threshing barns. Whilst they, and particular plots 6 to 3, are relatively tall at up to 10.2m in height their improved appearance and reduction in scale and massing ensures that the openness of the Green Belt and visual amenities of the locality are drastically improved at this location compared to the existing situation. The above notwithstanding, care should be taken to control the extent of residential curtilages, and as such a condition is suggested to agree the exact extent of areas to be used as garden and areas to be uses as orchard/paddocks. Concern has been raised at the form and location of the thatched cottage at the front of the site. The design principles behind this (which reflect those of the siting and design of the other new builds) are that the farmstead may have developed (should it have developed to such a size as proposed by the other buildings that collectively form the larger proposed farm courtyard area) the requirement for an onsite farm manager. If such a situation did occur accommodation would have likely to have been simple and rustic as per the proposed Plot 1. In any case, in terms of impact upon openness, it is to be built in the same approximate position as the easternmost part of the existing abattoir building and will not, therefore, protrude materially further into the Green Belt than the existing buildings on site. It is considered that the proposed new dwellings will not be materially more harmful to the openness of the Green Belt than the existing buildings on this previously developed site. In fact, it is considered that they represent a marked improvement. Having regard to the above this element of the proposal is compliant with NPPF advice and represents appropriate development within the Green Belt. Neighbour Amenity There is only dwelling situated in close proximity to the site; that being Harvester House to the east of the site. The house here (which is a farmhouse) is situated right at the back of its plot will all amenity and drive areas located at the front. It is separated from the rear gardens of plots 12 and 13 by an area of land that the occupiers use a chicken run area. Harvester House is located\around 16m from the rear of the nearest part of Plot 12, and approx. 21m from the rear of the nearest part of Plot 13. It is considered that these separation distances are sufficient to ensure no undue loss of privacy or overbearing impact. Having regard to the above it is considered that the proposal is compliant with Policy ENV2 of the adopted Solihull UDP 2006. Landscape An Arboricultural report and Tree Condition Survey has been prepared and submitted and as part of the application. The report found that there are 39 existing trees, tree groups and areas of hedgerow either on the site on upon its boundaries, 14 of which require removal to facilitate the development. The trees to be removed are all C grade trees and consist of sycamore, ash, goat willow, beech, apple, magnolia, lilac, Lawson cypress, plum and holly. The remainder of the trees are to be retained. In addition, a landscape plan is submitted indicating new tree planting on the site, which will serve to reduce the impact of the proposed tree removals and will serve to improve the age and species diversity of the tree resource. The tree species selection will aim to integrate the site within the wider landscape whist providing an attractive environment for future residents. The application has been assessed by your Landscape Architects. They raise no objections to the proposal, subject to conditions. The proposal is therefore considered compliant with Policy ENV14 of the adopted Solihull UDP 2006. Ecology Your Ecologists requested additional ecology work be undertaken and submitted for consideration. Officers are at present awaiting this additional information and hence the final views of your Ecologists have not been received. Once the information has been submitted and then considered by your Ecologists, their final views will be reported to Members via an update note at the meeting. Affordable Housing Policy H4 of the adopted UDP advises that on sites comprising of 15 dwellings or more, or sites that have an area of 0.5ha or more, should be provided with 40% affordable housing, or in exceptional circumstances a contribution should be paid of lieu of on site affordable housing for the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in the borough. The adopted SPG on Affordable Housing (which is designed to be read in conjunction with Policy H4) advises that the 40% figure as set out in Policy H4 is a target, and that affordable housing targets will be subject to discussion on a site by site basis. It advises that the Council will adopt a flexible approach taking into account aspects such as local needs, the nature of the local residential area and site characteristics. The SPG also accepts that not all sites will be suitable to achieve the 40% affordable target. In this instance 40% of 13 units would amount to 5.2 units and it is usual that the figure is rounded to the nearest whole number. In attempt to identify a registered affordable housing site provider to take on some of the proposed units as affordable housing, the applicant approached Bromford Housing Association, West Mercia Housing Association, Solihull Community Housing, Midland Heart Housing Association and Waterloo Housing Association. Bromford HA confirmed that the site was of too small a scale to be of interest to them. West Mercia advised that the size of the properties and market values were not suitable for affordable housing and that service charges and ground rents that will be in operation at the site to secure the management and maintenance of the site were of concern as they would impact on affordability. In addition, they advised that 5 units were below their standard operation requirements, which focussed on schemes of ten units or more. Solihull Community Housing advised that they were not interested for similar reasons to West Mercia. They believed that other S106 opportunities in the borough would offer far better value for money. Midland Heart declined to progress with the scheme as the property values and service charges made it unsuitable for provision of affordable homes. Waterloo confirmed that they would be focussing on their existing HCA programme commitments and as the current allocation for the Solihull area is for affordable rent with no non-grant units they had no interest in the opportunity being offered. It is of no surprise, based on experiences of other recent similar schemes elsewhere in the area, that no housing associations expressed an interest in the site, given the relatively remote location of the site, the size and high quality of the housing units proposed, and the associated service charge costs required to ensure that the private roadways, substantial communal spaces and sustainability initiatives are maintained to adequate levels. Given the above, in this instance it is considered that a more appropriate form of affordable housing contribution is through the provision of a commuted sum to provide affordable housing elsewhere in the area. Your Housing Strategy Officer has confirmed that he agrees with this approach as there is no reasonable likelihood of a registered provider being prepared to take on dwellings at the site for the reasons provided by the applicant, and he therefore raises no objections to, in this instance, the affordable housing requirement being met by an affordable housing contribution of £250,000, to be secured by a S106 Agreement. The proposal is therefore compliant with Policy H4 of the adopted Solihull UDP 2006. Highways and Sustainability The development is for the conversion of existing buildings into 5 residential units and demolition of further existing buildings and construction of 8 new dwellings. The site has a long and detailed planning history with intervention by the Secretary of State. The site has a permitted use as a working farm, a meat processing plant, a vehicle repair workshop, a lawn mower\repair workshop and an abattoir. The most recent intervention by the Secretary of State was in 2005, when he considered an application for conversion of the barns and farmhouse to a residential use. He decided to refuse planning permission on the grounds the proposal was in an unsustainable location (in terms of accessibility) and contrary to PPG13. In 2006 planning permission was granted to convert 2 of the barns into B1 office accommodation, which included the provision of 582sqm of floor space and provided for 46 car parking spaces. In 2009 further permission for office development was granted for a circa 1,887sqm of office space. A S106 contribution was secured as part of this application to improve the footway link between site and Knowle Village Centre and the existing ‘Heart of England’ Taxi-bus service. The applicants are again proposing, as part of the application that is before you for determination, a financial contribution towards improvements to the existing footway along Kenilworth Road between the site and Knowle. Policy In considering the development against current and emerging Policies, highway officers have paid regard to: National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Para 17 of NPPF states that within the overarching roles that the planning system ought to play, a set of core land-use planning principles should underpin both plan-making and decision-taking. These 12 principles are that planning should, inter-alia, actively manage patterns of growth to make the fullest possible use of public transport, walking and cycling, and focus significant development in locations which are or can be made sustainable. Para 34 of NPPF states ‘Plans and decisions should ensure developments that generate significant movement are located where the need to travel will be minimised and the use of sustainable transport modes can be maximised. However this needs to take account of policies set out elsewhere in the Framework, particularly in rural areas. Para 35 of NPPF states that plans should protect and exploit opportunities for the use of sustainable transport modes for the movement of goods or people. Therefore, developments should be located and designed where practical to:- ● accommodate the efficient delivery of goods and supplies; ● give priority to pedestrian and cycle movements, and have access to high quality public transport facilities; ● create safe and secure layouts which minimise conflicts between traffic and cyclists or pedestrians, avoiding street clutter and where appropriate establishing home zones; ● incorporate facilities for charging plug-in and other ultra-low emission vehicles; and consider the needs of people with disabilities by all modes of transport. Para 55 of NPPF states that to promote sustainable development in rural areas, housing should be located where it will enhance or maintain the vitality of rural communities. For example, where there are groups of smaller settlements, development in one village may support services in a village nearby. Local planning authorities should avoid new isolated homes in the countryside unless there are special circumstances such as: the essential need for a rural worker to live permanently at or near their place of work in the countryside; or where such development would represent the optimal viable use of a heritage asset or would be appropriate enabling development to secure the future of heritage assets; or where the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and lead to an enhancement to the immediate setting; or the exceptional quality or innovative nature of the design of the dwelling. Such a design should: –– be truly outstanding or innovative, helping to raise standards of design more generally in rural areas; –– reflect the highest standards in architecture; –– significantly enhance its immediate setting; and, –– be sensitive to the defining characteristics of the local area. Solihull UDP Policy T1 of the UDP states that; The Council will expect all development proposals that generate traffic to contribute positively towards the safe, efficient and easy movement of people and goods throughout the Borough in order to create an integrated and sustainable transport network for Solihull. Transport Assessments will be required for development proposals that are likely to have significant transport implications. The Council will expect proposals for new development to satisfy the following criteria: Minimise the need to travel; Locate where easy access can be gained by a choice of means of transport; Promote improved safety and convenience of travel for everyone; and Support the objectives of the Local Transport Plan. Solihull Draft Local Plan Draft Policy P7: Part A of Draft Policy P7 states ‘All new development should be focused in the most accessible locations and seek to enhance existing accessibility levels and promote ease of access. Part A goes on to state that development will be expected to meet the following accessibility criteria, unless justified by local circumstances. Proposed housing development should be; • Within an 800m walk distance of a primary school, doctor’s surgery and food shop offering a range of fresh food; and • Within a 400m walk distance of a bus stop served by a commercial high frequency bus service (daytime frequency of 15 minutes or better) providing access to local and regional employment and retail centres; and / or • Within an 800m walk distance of a rail station providing high frequency services (3 or more per hour during peak periods) to local and regional employment and retail centres. Part A also states that residential development proposals for fewer than 3 dwellings in urban areas west of M42 and within rural settlements will be exempt from the criteria set out above. Part B of Draft Policy P7 states that ‘Access to development from the core walking, cycling, public transport and road networks will be expected to be: i. Safe, attractive, overlooked and direct on foot, by bicycle and from public transport; ii. Safe for those vehicles which need to access the development; and iii. Assessed in accordance with Policy P15 ‘Securing Design Quality’ in the Local Plan. During the consultation period of the Draft Local Plan, Draft Policy P7 did not receive a significant number of objections nor were any of the objections received irresolvable. Overall, it is considered that the Draft Local Plan is fully commensurate with the NPPF and that the Polices contained within it will continue to attract greater weight the closer the plan moves forward to adoption. The Development Site The development site is located from the B4101 Kenilworth Road, approximately 1.4km east of the centre of Knowle Village and 5.8km south- west of the centre of Balsall Common Village. The B4101 Kenilworth Road is a single carriageway highway subject to a 40mph speed limit. The site is accessed via two priority junctions, each of which can accommodate 2-way movements to/from the site. The northern access road has a carriageway width of approximately 6 metres, whereas the southern access road has a carriageway width of approximately 4 metres. The junctions are located within 70 metres of each other. The applicant completed a speed survey of the B4101 Kenilworth Road between 24 March 2012 and 28 March 2012 and average weekday 85th percentile speeds were recorded as 44mph eastbound and 41mph westbound. The survey recorded around 5,600 weekday two-way daily traffic movements. Accessibility The site is considered to be within a rural location. Whilst there is a footway between site and Knowle Village Centre, the route is, for the most part, narrow, unlit and not overlooked, albeit the applicant is willing fund a scheme to widen the footway where considered necessary. There are no bus services running past the site although residents would have access to the ‘Heart of England’ taxi-bus service. The taxi-bus service operates within the rural area between Solihull and Coventry, and offers a door to door service for local residents. The service operates between the hours of 08:00 and 19:30, Monday to Saturday and passengers must pre- register with the operator to use the service and trips are pre-booked. Hence the service is not a timetabled ‘turn-up and go’ service. There are three taxi- buses in circulation within the Heart of England area with capacity for approximately 11 passengers per bus. The service is subsidised by the Integrated Transport Authority (Centro). The approximate distance to local services and facilities are outlined in the table below: Distance Fresh Food 1400m Education (Primary) 1400m Education (Secondary) 1500m GP Surgery 1700m Regular Bus Services 1300m Rail Services 3500m The walking distances to local services and facilities identified above are outside the parameters set out in Draft Policy P7 of the Solihull Draft Local Plan. The distances are also outside the acceptable walking distance of 800m as identified within the Chartered Institute of Highways and Transportation publication ‘Designing for Journeys on Foot’ (2001, table 3.2). It is also not just linear distance which is important. The nature and attractiveness of walking and cycling routes plays a significant factor in influencing travel behavior. The walking/cycling route between site and Knowle Village (where most day-to-day services and facilities are located) is not an environment conducive to walking or cycling for regular shopping/work/school trips. It would not be a suitable route for young children to use for cycling to school, irrespective of whether they were accompanied by an adult. Given that the site is located outside acceptable walking and cycling distances (as defined by emerging local policy and national guidance) and the walking and cycling routes to/from site are unlikely to be conducive to walking and cycling, it is not considered that the site is located in a sustainable location (in terms of accessibility). Weight must also be attached to the decision of the Secretary of State in 2005 where he considered residential development at Hall Farm unacceptable on the grounds of accessibility. Members will be aware that the site is subject to an extant consent for circa 4,300 sqm of office space. Whilst it was accepted at the time that the site was not in an accessible location, officers were mindful of the prevailing transport policy (PPG13) at the time which highlighted the importance of promoting adequate employment opportunities in rural areas to reduce the need for long- distance out-commuting to jobs in urban areas. PPG13 went on to state that diversification of agricultural businesses would increasingly likely to lead to proposals for conversion or re-use of existing farm buildings for other business purposes, possibly in remote locations. With this in mind and given the agreed contribution to improve walking links to site and improve and the existing taxi bus service as well as a condition securing a robust travel plan, the development was considered, on balance, to be acceptable. However, these circumstances are not applicable for the proposed development. Traffic and Safety The applicant has obtained Personal Injury Accident (PIA) data in the vicinity of the Hall Farm site. The accident data covers a 5-year period between 1/1/2007 and 31/12/2011 and the B4101 Kenilworth Road between the junctions of Wilsons Road and Fen End Road. A total of 9 accidents were identified including one fatal, 2 serious and 6 slight accidents. The fatal accident occurred some way from the site within the built up area of Knowle when a moped skidded and struck an elderly person. One accident was recorded in the immediate vicinity of the site, when the road was subject to a national speed limit regulation (since reduced to 40mph). The accident was a serious classification involving a motor bike and car. The motor bike was identified as driving recklessly and lost control of the vehicle. No accidents were recorded as a result of manoeuvres into/from Hall Farm. Visibility splays of 2.4m x 116m and 2.4m x 110m (left and right respectively) can be achieved at the northern site access (which is to form the vehicular access into site). The recorded average 85th percentile speeds of 44mph and 41mph (eastbound and westbound respectively) would require a visibility splay of 120m in both directions. Whilst the existing visibility falls just short of design standards, officers’ have regard to the fact that there have been no accidents at the site access in the last five years that would suggest that the shortfall in visibility is directly impacting upon highway safety. Given that the proposed development would generate fewer trips that the current and extant uses, this level of visibility is considered acceptable. Work undertaken as part of the previous application suggested that the historic and current use generates around 260 daily two-way trips (as well as a large number of tractor/trailer movements which have not been included). Based on a five-day week, this equates to 1,300 weekly two-way trips. The extant B1 office use could generate around 330 daily two-way trips. Based on a five-day working week, this would equate to 1,650 weekly two- way trips For the current application, the applicant suggests that the proposed development could generate 156 two-way daily trips, but over a seven day period. Based on a seven-day week, this would equate to 1,092 weekly trips. The proposed development would generate fewer trips than the current and potential uses of the site and there are no identified safety issues with the existing access arrangements. The development is, therefore, considered acceptable from a traffic and safety perspective. Summary The development is considered acceptable in both traffic and highway safety terms. However, it is considered that the site is located in an unsustainable location for residential development. The transportation and highway recommendation is one of refusal for the following reason:- The proposed development if or a group of isolated homes in the countryside and is not located where easy access can be gained by a choice in the means of transport to/from local services, facilities and employment. Therefore, this is contrary to Policy T1 of the Solihull UDP 2006 and the National Planning Policy Framework. Balancing Exercise It is therefore apparent, whilst there are no objections to the highway safety implications of the proposal, your Highway Engineers object to the proposal given the unsustainable location of the site, which is a view that has previously been shared by the Secretary of State in considering past proposals for residential development at the site. However, this notwithstanding, other material planning factors in support of the application that must be balanced against this issue relate to: the general improvement to the appearance and rural character of the site and the openness of the Green Belt created by the proposal. In particular the removal of the more modern industrial buildings & reduction in footprint. The applicants advise that the property has been available on the market since July 2010 and marketed for the consented B1 office use and other commercial purposes. Only two parties have expressed an interest in the site. The first from a care operator and the second from a residential developer. The care home operator required complete demolition of all buildings to accommodate a new purpose built building. The letting agents for the site advise that the lack of demand for commercial uses is due to general economic conditions and the lack of demand in the commercial sector; the site’s constraints (i.e. need to retain existing buildings); and the over supply of commercial space within the M32 Solihull corridor. In addition, since the past applications at the site for residential development have been considered, national planning policy in the form of the NPPF have come into force which dictates that the proposal constitutes appropriate development. As stated previously in this report, paragraph 55 of the NPPF states, inter alia, isolated homes in the countryside should be avoided unless there are special circumstances such as where the development would re-use redundant or disused buildings and lead to an enhancement to the immediate setting. The proposal clearly relates, in part, to the re-use of redundant or disused buildings, and will also enhance the immediate setting of the site. This was a policy consideration that was not previously in place during the assessment of previous residential schemes at the site. As such, in this instance it is considered that in determining the finally balanced issues that are prevalent in this case, on balance the improvements to the character, appearance and openness of the area and Green Belt and the change in planning policy (namely para 55 of the NPPF) fall in favour of the proposal to the extent that the concerns raised by your Highway Engineers are outweighed by the other material factors in favour of the proposal. This is subject to the applicants again entering into a Section 106 Agreement to provide secure the improvements of the footway link along Kenilworth Road between the site and Knowle. CONCLUSION This application seeks consent to convert existing brick built barns at the site to provide 5 dwellings, and to demolish 4,941sqm of existing agricultural and industrial buildings to be replaced with 8 new dwellings. The buildings to be converted are capable of being so without major rebuild or alteration works, and the new build dwellings will result in a marked improvement to the character, appearance and openness of the area. The proposal, that seeks to redevelop this previously developed site, therefore constitutes appropriate development in the Green Belt. The proposal will not result in any undue impact upon neighbour amenity and will not prejudice the health and well being of any important trees on or near to the site. Although no affordable housing will be provided on site, a contribution via a S106 agreement for such housing provision elsewhere will be provided. Notwithstanding the above, the site is located within an unsustainable location. However due to the considerable improvements to the character, appearance and openness of the site that would be generated by the proposal, and the guidance in relation to such issues contained within the NPPF, on balance it is considered that the environmental benefits of the scheme justify the grant of permission for this unsustainable form of development in highway terms. RECOMMENDATION In view of the above this application is recommended for approval subject to the following conditions, and subject to the applicant entering a S106 Agreement to contribute £250,000 towards the provision of affordable housing elsewhere in the borough and for improvements to the footway along Kenilworth Road between the site and Knowle: (1) The development hereby permitted shall not be carried out except in complete accordance with the details shown on the submitted plans, numbers: To ensure compliance with the approved plans and details to safeguard amenity and the quality of the environment in accordance with Policy ENV2 of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006. (2) The development hereby permitted shall be begun before the expiration of three years from the date of this permission. Pursuant to the requirements of Section 51 of the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. (3) No building works shall be commenced until samples of all bricks, tiles and other materials to be used in the external elevations have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details. To safeguard the visual amenities of the area in accordance with Policy ENV2 of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006. (4) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning General Permitted Development Order 1995 (or any Order revoking and re-enacting that Order) no development included within Schedule 2, Part 1, Class A - E shall be carried out. To protect the visual amenities of the area and the residential amenities of adjacent dwelling(s) in accordance with policy ENV2 of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006. (5) Notwithstanding the provisions of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (or any Order revoking and re- enacting that Order) no windows, dormer windows or other openings (other than those expressly authorised by this permission) shall be constructed or installed. To protect the residential amenities of adjacent dwelling/s and the character and appearance of the dwellings in accordance with policy ENV2 of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006. (6) All existing buildings on the site shown on Drawing No. AR-050-001 to be demolished shall be demolished and all rubble and other waste material removed therefrom before the replacement buildings hereby approved commences or by such further time as may be agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority. In order to secure the satisfactory development of the site in accordance with Policy ENV2 and C2 of the adopted Solihull UDP 2006. (7) Notwithstanding any indications contained within the information accompanying the application, the development hereby approved shall not be commenced until full details of proposed sewage disposal, foul water and surface water works have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Such a scheme shall comply with the requirements of Circular 03/99: Planning requirement in respect of the Use of Non-Mains Sewerage incorporating Septic Tanks in New Development. The details so approved shall thereafter be implemented prior to the first occupation of the dwellings. To secure the satisfactory drainage of the site in accordance with Policy ENV17 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (8) Before the development hereby approved is commenced, an amended Interpretative Report on Ground Investigation shall be carried out based on the end users of the scheme herby approved being the occupiers of residential dwellings and submitted to the Local Planning Authority for approval. Any remedial works required as a result of the amended report shall be implemented as approved prior to the first occupation of the development. To ensure that the development can be carried out safely without unacceptable risks to future occupiers in accordance with Policy ENV16 of the Solihull UDP 2006. (9) Prior to the commencement of any work on site, all existing trees/hedges and large shrubs except those agreed for removal, shall be protected by barriers and/or ground protection, in accordance with the recommendations set out in BS5837:2005. The tree protection measures shall be implemented and maintained on site as approved. The protection areas shall be kept free of all materials, equipment and building activity during the site development, and ground levels within the protected areas shall not be raised or lowered. Where utility runs cannot be avoided within root protection areas, a method statement shall be submitted, setting out how the works will be carried out, in accordance with NJUG Vol 4 Issue 2: "Guidelines for the Planning, Installation and Maintenance of Utility Apparatus in Proximity to Trees". To safeguard as many natural features as possible in accordance with Policy ENV14 of the adopted Solihull UDP 2006. (10) Notwithstanding any indications contained within the application submissions, the development hereby approved shall not be occupied until full details of both hard and soft landscape works have been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority and these works shall be carried out as approved. These details shall include proposed finished levels or contours; means of enclosure and boundary treatment; car parking layouts; other vehicle and pedestrian access and circulation areas; hard surfacing materials; minor artefacts and structures (e.g. furniture, play equipment, refuse or other storage units, lighting etc.); retained historic landscape features and proposals for restoration. Soft landscape works shall include planting plans; written specifications (including cultivation and other operations associated with plant and grass establishment); schedules of plants, noting species, plant sizes and proposed numbers/densities where appropriate; implementation programme. To minimise the effect and enhance the character of the development in accordance with Policy ENV2 and ENV14 ‘Trees and Woodlands’. (11) All hard and soft landscape works shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details. The works shall be carried out prior to the occupation of any part of the development or in accordance with a programme agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority. If within a period of 5 years from the date of planting of any tree, that tree or any tree planted in replacement for it, is removed, uprooted, destroyed, dies or becomes seriously damaged or defective, another tree of the same species and size as that originally planted shall be planted at the same place within the next planting season (October- March), unless the Local Planning Authority gives its written consent to any variation. To minimise the effect and enhance the character of the development in accordance with Policy ENV2 and ENV14 ‘Trees and Woodlands’. (12) Any tree, hedge or shrub scheduled for retention which is lost for any reason during development works, shall be replaced with a tree, hedge or shrub of a size and species to be agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority and planted during the first planting season after its loss. To retain the character of the landscape in accordance with Policy ENV14 ‘Trees and Woodlands’. (13) Notwithstanding any indications contained within the application submissions, development shall take place until there has been submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority a plan indicating the positions, design, materials and type of boundary treatment to be erected, both internally and externally to the site. The boundary treatment shall be completed before the building(s) is/are occupied. Development shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details. To minimise the effect and enhance the character of the development in accordance with Policy ENV2 and ENV14 ‘Trees and Woodlands’. (14) Notwithstanding any indications contained within the application submissions, full details of the extent of the residential curtilages to serve each of the proposed dwellings shall be submitted to and approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority. Only the areas of land so approved shall be used for the purposes of private amenity space. In the interests of the visual amenities of the area and the openness of the Green Belt in accordance with Policies ENV2 and C2 of the adopted Solihull UDP 2006. (15) No illumination of any external area of the site shall take place except with the prior written consent of the Local Planning Authority and in accordance with details submitted to and approved by them. In the interests of the amenities of the area in accordance with Policy ENV2 of the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006. (16) No development shall commence on site until a photographic record of the building has first been obtained in accordance with a brief to be first agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority in consultation with the Warwickshire County Council Archaeological Information and Advice Team. The record shall be deposited with the Warwickshire County Council Archaeological Information and Advice Team prior to work commencing. To ensure adequate opportunity for site research and recording in accordance with Policy ENV8 of the adopted Solihull UDP 2006. NOTE: Noise During Construction: Noise from construction and associated works has the potential to cause disturbance to neighbouring residents. In order to minimise this, this Authority would normally recommend that any work audible beyond the boundary of the site should only be carried out between the hours of 8.00 am to 6.00 pm on Mondays to Fridays and 8.00 am to 1.00 pm on Saturdays; there should be no noisy works carried out on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Best practicable means to prevent noise from the site should also be employed as defined in British Standard BS 5228 Part 1: 1984 (or its successors/revisions). Failure to keep these hours or to employ best practicable means to control noise could lead to the service of an enforcement notice under Section 60 of the Control of Pollution Act 1974. We would encourage applications for prior consent under Section 61 of the Act, particularly where the construction and/or demolition phases(s) may be prolonged or if work may be undertaken beyond the aforementioned hours. Please contact the Contact Centre (0121 704 8000) for further details. Burning of Refuse on Demolition and Construction Sites: Because of the potential for nuisance to neighbours, burning of refuse prior to or during the construction phase is not generally acceptable and may be contrary to waste regulation legislation. If you do have special circumstances, such as a requirement to dispose of wood infected by disease or insects, please contact the Contact Centre on (0121 704 8000) for further details. Dust Control on Demolition and Construction Sites: Because of the potential for nuisance to neighbours and damage to property, reasonable steps to reduce dust emissions should be employed, particularly during any demolition works and in periods of dry weather. NOTE: A planning agreement/obligation under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 relates to this site. The decision to grant planning permission has been taken having regard to the policies and proposals in the Solihull Unitary Development Plan 2006 set out below, together with all other relevant material considerations, including Supplementary Planning Guidance, and the particular circumstances and reasons summarised below. RPG11 Regional Planning Guidance for the West Midlands (2004) RR1 Rural renaissance T2 Reducing the need to travel Solihull UDP 2006 ENV2 Urban Design ENV13 Protected Species ENV14 Trees and Woodlands T1 An Integrated and Sustainable Transport Strategy T13 Car Parking Provision H1 Provision of Housing Land H4 Affordable Housing H5 Density, Design and Quality of Development C2 Control of Development in the Green Belt Solihull Draft Local Plan P4 Meeting Housing Needs P5 Provision of Land for Housing P7 Accessibility and Ease of Access P9 Climate Change P10 natural Environment P14 Amenity P15 Securing Quality Design P17 Green Belt/Countryside Government Guidance National Planning Policy Framework SPGs Rural Buildings Conversion Guidance Vehicle Parking Standards and Green Travel Plans In reaching this decision the Council is mindful of the particular circumstances and reasons set out below, namely: This application seeks consent to convert existing brick built barns at the site to provide 5 dwellings, and to demolish 4,941sqm of existing agricultural and industrial buildings to be replaced with 8 new dwellings. The buildings to be converted are capable of being so without major rebuild or alteration works, and the new build dwellings will result in a marked improvement to the character, appearance and openness of the area. The proposal, that seeks to redevelop this previously developed site, therefore constitutes appropriate development in the Green Belt. The proposal will not result in any undue impact upon neighbour amenity and will not prejudice the health and well being of any important trees on or near to the site. Although no affordable housing will be provided on site, a contribution via a S106 agreement for such housing provision elsewhere will be provided. Notwithstanding the above, the site is located within an unsustainable location. However due to the considerable improvements to the character, appearance and openness of the site that would be generated by the proposal, and the guidance in relation to such issues contained within the NPPF, on balance it is considered that the environmental benefits of the scheme justify the grant of permission for this unsustainable form of development in highway terms.
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